(Adds public safety unions not included in latest deal, court
hearing, Orr's upcoming trip to state capital)
DETROIT, April 28 Detroit and a coalition of 14
city employee unions have reached a tentative deal on five-year
collective bargaining agreements, federal court-appointed
mediators said on Monday.
The agreement in principle covers the major aspects of labor
contracts with the city's largest union, the American Federation
of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and 13 other
bargaining units, said the mediators, who were appointed by the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing Detroit's historic
Kevyn Orr, the city's state-appointed emergency manager, has
been reeling in deals this month with key creditors, including
Detroit's two retirement systems and three bond insurance
companies, giving him critical support for his blueprint for the
city's emergence from bankruptcy.
Once the union pacts are finalized and ratified by union
members, the terms will be included in the city's plan of
adjustment, which must be approved by the bankruptcy court, the
mediators said in a written statement. Terms of the deal, which
covers 3,500 workers, were not released and will be made public
once the contracts are ratified.
Edward McNeil, chief spokesman for the union coalition, said
the unions will work with Mayor Mike Duggan on improving
operations with existing workers not private contractors.
"We know operationally what needs to be done to save money
and improve services," McNeil said in a statement. "This
agreement in principle offers an opportunity for the unions to
provide regular input and guidance to city management."
The tentative deal does not include public safety workers.
Officials with the Detroit Police Officers Association and the
Detroit Fire Fighters Association were not immediately available
At a court hearing on Monday, Judge Steven Rhodes asked
Detroit to submit by Friday a final version of a key supporting
document for its plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit the
biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The city filed a revised so-called disclosure statement with
the court late on Friday after reaching an agreement in
principle on pensions and healthcare with a court-appointed
committee representing retired city workers.
Settlements over pension reductions depend on $466 million
pledged by philanthropic foundations and the Detroit Institute
of Arts to aid retirees and avoid a fire sale of art works.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is also seeking legislative
approval for $350 million for Detroit's retired workers.
Rhodes said if the state money is not in place by the time
the confirmation hearing on Detroit's plan begins on July 24
votes by participants in the retirement systems in favor of the
plan would turn into votes against the plan.
Orr is heading to Lansing, the state capital, on Tuesday and
Wednesday to meet with lawmakers, according to his spokesman
The judge continued to urge talks on creating a regional
authority for water and sewer services currently run by Detroit,
despite opposition from two nearby counties. Meanwhile, court
mediators have scheduled sessions on Thursday and Friday with
Detroit, bond insurance companies and municipal bond funds over
outstanding water and sewer bonds.
(Reporting by Cherie Curry in Detroit, additional reporting by
Dan Burns in New York and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by
James Dalgleish, Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)